What is a Payment Hub?

A payment hub is a centralized hub where all payment streams across an organization are consolidated and processed in a centralized manner.

The payment streams can come from different ERP or other payment initiating systems by teams such as Accounts Payable, Treasury, Finance and HR. The consolidated payment streams are then transformed into a single source of record for all outgoing payments and incoming payment confirmation, statements and transaction records.

A payment hub is also capable of converting payment data into bank-specific file formats and connecting directly with global banks through required connectivity options, such as host-to-host, API or SWIFT. In centralizing and standardizing corporate payments, payment hubs improve process efficiency, team productivity and reduce fraud risks.

Pain Points Without a Payment Hub

Processes for managing corporate payments are traditionally challenged by the sheer volume of payment activities and its manual processing inefficiency. Usually there are different teams who need to process payments and they are de-centrally located, causing communication and visibility challenges too.

In the absence of a software system to manage the payment process across different teams, some of the most outstanding pain points are:

  • Outdated back-office payment systems requiring extensive and costly IT support
  • Long lead time to connect to banks via API or H2H with own IT resource
  • Unavoidable payment errors and oversights from manual processing
  • Potential money loss from undiscovered duplicate payments
  • Increased operational risks due to potential fraud and non-compliant payments
  • Slowness to leverage faster payment rails (e.g., RTP®) or other nascent payment methods (e.g., Zelle) to support customers’ evolving payments needs

The Benefits of Using a Payment Hub Solution

Payment hubs deliver a wide range of benefits for treasury and finance leaders, such as efficiency, flexibility, security, reporting & analytics, and scalability. The following benefits have been identified by Kyriba clients as the most outstanding:

  • Cost savings: A payment hub reduces the number of systems that need to connect to a bank, thus reducing bank service fees and software costs.
  • Central responsibility: With the use of a single system to request, initiate, approve and transmit payments, a single team is responsible for all payments and the risk of mistakes and unauthorized payments is lower.
  • Global visibility: By centralizing payments via a payment hub, treasury has complete visibility to all outgoing cash flows in one place, allowing for the optimization of cash balances and enabling more effective decisions on cash and liquidity deployment.
  • Eliminated reliance on IT: Since modern payment hubs are usually hosted in the cloud and offered as SaaS platforms, with features such as automated bank format generation and integrated bank connectivity, there is no need for IT to build and maintain bank connections.
  • Fraud detection and compliance: All outgoing payments are screened in real-time against external sanction lists and a digitized payments policy to ensure only authorized payments are transmitted.

Payment hub by Kyriba

Key Features of a Payment Hub

Usually a well-designed, fully implemented payment hub should cover the following main features, with possibility for customization too:

  • Standardized workflow and controls: Payment workflow and controls ensure manual payments activities align to the organization’s payment policy and standardized payment controls.
  • Payment screening and fraud protection: Real-time screening of payments and fraud detections act as a line of defense against unauthorized payments.
  • Global bank connectivity: By integrating with banks across the globe, payment hubs deliver out of the box, host-to-host and regional network bank interfaces.
  • Pre-built format libraries: Payment hubs are able to meet the needs of various global banks and can accommodate thousands of format variations.
  • Two-way communication: Receipt of payments acknowledgements, payments tracking and bank status reporting are communicated to all parties for status reporting and visibility.
  • Data visualization and data analytics: with bi-enabled data visualizations, finance and treasury can gain in-depth insight into global payments and have access to enhanced analytics.

Features of Kyriba Payment Hub

Best Practices for Selecting a Payment Hub

The decision to select a payment hub must be made not only to meet present-day requirements but also have the scalability to support future needs: What is the growth plan for your organization in the next 3-5 years? Is there any upcoming divest or M&A? Does your company plan to expand into new geographic territories? How many new banks might be added to your payments landscape? All these questions are good to ask when you select a payment hub.

The following best practices are useful when selecting a payment hub:

  • Functionality: A payment hub should provide all the basic and advanced functionality to meet the current and future payment needs of an enterprise with a global banking footprint. Knowing your organization’s growth plan is important. Understanding your vendor’s roadmap is equally important so that you can map your needs to the capabilities of your vendor.
  • A pre-built formats library: Dedicated bank payment format development is a key differentiator to separate a basic payment hub from a sophisticated one. Therefore it is important that you ask your vendor who will take care of all the future format development and maintenance after the payment hub is implemented, especially when you do not have the resources at your disposal for this task.
  • Security: Security is the backbone of any payments operations. A vendor’s security ops are most often invisible to a buyer but there are still things that you can validate. This includes ISO 27001 certification, SOC1/SOC2 compliance, SWIFT compliance, disaster recovery, cyber security operations, cloud security, just to name a few. Kyriba handles its security operations to the highest industry standards.
  • Alignment: Geographic alignment with your payments program is key. If your payment banks exist in North America, Europe, Asia or Latin America, then so too should the implementation and product support of your payment hub vendor.

ROI of a Payment Hub

A payment hub can generate tremendous tangible return on investment (ROI). For example, Kyriba client Oracle Cerner saved 930 IT hours per year, including 410 hours of SWIFT AL2 maintenance and 520 hours of bank connectivity maintenance.

Another good example is from Kyriba’s client Adobe. As an organization which has 125 global users manually logging into 10+ banking portals on a daily basis to process payments and statements, the use of Kyriba’s payment hub has led to a centralized repository of 24 signers tracked and eight bank letter templates maintained with four banks connected for bank fee statement reporting and proactive fee management.